I need to find new words to describe the past two days. Beautiful, gorgeous, breathtaking don’t do it justice. The journey to Pangong Lake took about 6 hours with a few long breaks, one was at the third highest pass in the world where the Indian Army served us free delicious chai. Once we got to the lake we chose a big 6 person tent and cracked open the booze. Another tent was set up with food and the family who ran this homestay went off to find us beer. We met an amazing group from Madras (Chennai) who had set up a bonfire down by their tent. For the rest of the evening we drank Godfather beer, passed bottles of whiskey and old Monk’s rum, and shared stories around the fire. My favorite moments were learning hilarious Indian patriotic songs, Paul falling off his chair, and jumping in the freezing lake…a little after midnight and after the group sang me Happy Birthday for the 3rd time, I drunkenly yelled out I’m jumping in the lake and sprinted away from the party. I don’t know how my stumbling self made it down there without falling. It’s a bunch of ditches and hills straight down but once I made it I stopped, listened to the waves hit the shore, stared at the mountains and stars and seriously started laughing and crying. In that moment I was so happy tears were coming down my face and I was giggling like a child. I thought I’m 25 today, I’m in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to with an amazing group of people, I’m on the trip of a lifetime and I’m so crazy IN LOVE WITH MY LIFE. And I’m fucking in love with India. Then Ed came down to convince me to jump in the lake. “You’re 25, you’re in India, we’re jumping in the lake.” With much hesitation I was finally persuaded. You only live once right? (well unless you’re Hindu or Buddhist and believe in rebirth ha) The water wasn’t painstaking horrible but as soon as I got out it felt like knives penetrating every inch of my body. It was such a rush and 100% worth it. Thankfully the dry climate and fire warmed us up quickly. The next day we rode off some beaten paths around the mesmerizing lake. Tibet was a few km away, but a long route on those curvy roads around the mountains. I do wish we made it to the border so I could have stepped in China. We headed back to Leh around 1pm with our new big biker crew. The ride was freezing cold but of course amazing. Once we got back to the city we grabbed a few imported wines (costing us almost $20 a bottle which is outrageously expensive here) showered up and headed out to have some delicious Thai food to wrap up the last few hours of my birthday. Dinner was great. The company was great. And so were the fried chocolate covered bananas lit with candles and then for the 4th time I sat with a shitgrin on my face listening to this mix of people from all over the world sing to me. I don’t think I’ll ever try and compete with these past two days. It’s an experience I’ll die dreaming about. And I’ll have more to add when we take off for Nubra Valley tomorrow which includes the highest pass in the world, hot springs, and rare two-humped camels. I’m so grateful for my life and this journey I’m living. My heart has never been fuller and I’ve never smiled so much. I love you all and thankful for all the birthday love.